What CEOs need to consider for their firm’s corporate future?

Hiring for ESG & Sustainability

Not a week goes by without organisations announcing new hires with a title including Carbon Credit, Climate, ESG, or Sustainability. Each of these successful candidates could not be more different from the next one. Professional backgrounds ranging from academia, finance, risk, and sales to communications, investor relations and HR. Sometimes they are the most passionate about the topic, sometimes they are the most content qualified, sometimes they are empowered. Sometimes neither of those.

Status quo
For every 100 professionals with the word ‘finance’ in their title we find less than 10 with ‘sustainability’, 5 with ‘climate’, and 3 with ‘ESG’ in the job title. No surprise. However, this means there is no blueprint for recruiting this talent and certainly no room to hire, what many would describe as ‘like for like’, from a competitor or a comparable organisation.

Getting such a hire right would mean committing to a healthier planet, to happier customers and employees, whilst increasing profits. Getting it wrong results in greenwashing, reputational risk, and increasing costs.

Success lies more than anything in the Questions asked before the hire is made!
What does success look like? How do we measure impact? Who do we want to influence? Why do we hire? What will the person’s challenge be in the market and in our organisation? What do they need to know? What do they need to learn? Who do they not need to know? Who do they interact with? What power will they have? What do we not know? Is the outcome certain or a collection of ‘known and unknown unknowns’? Influencer or subject matter expert?

Only when these and many more questions are answered – or consciously declared uncertain – the right person can be searched for. Hard and soft criteria, including professional and academic skills as well as soft skills and behaviours, need to be defined and prioritised to reduce the risk of failure for this hire.

Howden, the international insurance broker, described the current “price, risk and inflation storm” as a time where “three Cs of climate, conflict and capital” come together.

Just because the outcome is uncertain though, the path does not need to be defined by luck.

#resilience #carboncredit #climate #ESG #sustainability

#talent #leadership #assessment #insurance